Group hits out at council's "flawed" airport decision

PUBLISHED: 08:50 29 January 2020

Picture: Mark Davison

Picture: Mark Davison

Archant

Unite, the largest British and Irish trade union, dedicated to protecting workers' rights, equality and diversity in the workplace, hit out at Uttlesford District Council's (UDC) decision to refuse permission for Stansted Airport's expansion.

Uttlesford District Council headquarters on London Road, Saffron Walden. Picture: CONTRIBUTED.Uttlesford District Council headquarters on London Road, Saffron Walden. Picture: CONTRIBUTED.

The group said today, January 27, that the decision taken by councillors last Friday is "short-sighted" and "detrimental to the future economic growth" of the region.

Mark Barter, Unite regional officer, said: "We deplore this short-sighted decision by Uttlesford District Council's planning committee, which will have an adverse impact on future employment growth at the airport and, more widely, it will have negative ripple effects across the region's economy. "We will be working with Stansted's stakeholders, including the owner, Manchester Airports Group (MAG), as to the best way that this flawed decision can be challenged.

Unite currently has more than 2,500 members at Stansted Airport and has been an active supporter of the airport's expansion due to perceived employment opportunities being created in Essex.

"With an insecure economic climate and the need to provide quality, well paid jobs for current and future generations, Friday's decision is a step backwards," Mr Barter said, adding:

"From tourism to the high tech industry, businesses are desperate to have easy, efficient access to Stansted Airport's increasing gateways to the world - and this now appears to have been put in jeopardy."

According to Mr Barter, there are 12,000 on-site employees at the airport, out of which more than 2,500 are Uttlesford residents - and planning permission would have added 5,000 more jobs and £1 billion of economic value.

Denise Rossiter, Chief Executive at the Essex Chambers of Commerce, also expressed her disappointment at the council's decision: "Uttlesford's councillors have once again adopted a negative attitude towards Stansted's ambitions for the future.

I had hoped that they would see the importance of this application in helping generate jobs and stimulate the local economy as well as contributing towards improvements in the local infrastructure, but they haven't, and Essex as a whole will suffer from their short-sightedness."

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